Operation Homecoming: Helen on NPR!

Where or how to even begin a blog entry about my friend-who-has-become-my-sister Helen? I remember with complete clarity my first awareness of her. A "new kid" at school, she sat against the wall at a shiny black-topped science table in physics class on our first day of 9th grade, her face obscured by her hair and a (non-physics-related) book. Books were Helen's trademark...she read them constantly...while walking the halls, waiting for classes to start (and stop), during lunch, anytime, anywhere.

So it is perhaps not surprising that Helen is now writing her own book. In a circuitous route that has involved the both good-and-bad-luck of timing, a lot of persistence and no small amount of talent, Helen is now a published writer. She has had work published in the New York Times and in an anthology of soldiers' writings entitled Operation Homecoming

. Her own upcoming book (which she's writing in conjunction with earning her MFA in creative non-fiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh) will focus on her experiences in Iraq as a member of the 1221st Missouri National Guard Transportation Company.

And now you can actually HEAR Helen read a bit of her writing and listen to excerpts of her very recent INTERVIEW on the NPR show "Day to Day" by clicking here: HELEN on NPR's website!!!

I'm so blessed to be sharing life's milestones, from adolescence on, with this creative, loyal, inspiring friend...we skinny dipped in local (and way too shallow) creeks as teenagers, expressed strong...not always favorable...opinions about each others' boyfriends, stood up as Maids-of-Honor at one another's weddings, and it was Helen I called on to sit up, way past bedtime, with my son Elliot while I gave birth to daughter Sophie.

I made the photos of Helen (above) the day she left for Iraq. I am grateful that she's back and glad she's sharing her story with others.

~kim wade